Brian Roberts’s study of American literature leads him to Indonesia.

Over the past several years, Professor Roberts has collaborated with Dr. Keith Foulcher (Indonesian Studies, University of Sydney) to research American writer Richard Wright’s 1955 travel to Indonesia to attend the Asian-African Conference, a landmark meeting of representatives from twenty-nine postcolonial Asian and African countries. In May 2013, with funding from the Kennedy Center for International Studies, Professor Roberts traveled to Indonesia, where he gave talks for English majors and graduate students at the American cultural center in Jakarta and at the University of Indonesia. He also interviewed some of the Indonesian writers who associated with Wright in 1955. With Dr. Foulcher, Professor Roberts is completing a book titled Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright, Modern Indonesia, and the Bandung Conference (contract with Duke University Press). Together with introductory and contextual material intervening in discussions of literary modernism, postcolonial history, and the Global South, Indonesian Notebook contains many Wright-related sources that are translated from Indonesian for the first time, including the first English-language publication of Wright’s newly discovered 1955 lecture “The Artist and His Problems.” From January through June 2015, Professor Roberts will be a Fulbright Senior Scholar in American literature and American Studies at Sebelas Maret University in the Indonesian city of Surakarta.

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